just need to tell my story to someone

I'm completely new to this forum but feel a mixture of relief and anxiety about communicating on here. We think that my husband has ADD. We have been together 9 years and after the honeymoon phase ended, I felt like something was up but didn't quite know what to put my finger on.  I thought he might've had aspergers syndrome and set up an appointment. The therapist explained that while he does display many apergers traits, he definitley doesn't have aspergers syndrome but is likely to have ADD. At the time (this is going back c. 5 years now), we were simply relieved he didn't have aspergers and stopped therapy. Obviously we didn't know what we were in for since we didn't delve into it any further.  Fast forward to now, and I am at the end of my tether with this thing.

My husband has only recently accepted that perhaps he needs to get a diagnosis and consider treating ADD.  The thing is, we live in France which causes a whole raft of problems. The issues are numerous, but my main concerns are how to move forward.   I'm not sure ADD is widely recognised in France and even read a report by ADHD Europe indicating that diagnosis and treatment were limited throughout Europe.  On top of this, my husband is currently on a short term contract and this is his excuse for not seeking help now.  His reasons are that we can't afford it financially and that finding the right therapist takes time and he doesn't want to settle on a therapist now, in the event that we have to move (which is highly likely).

But we have been in perpetual limbo for 2 years now and I'm sick of his excuses for not seeking diagnosis and treatment.  This may sound horrible, especially because I do love my husband and I truly believe that we could be so much happier and healthier if he would seek help, but the thing is, I also have a good sense of self worth and I am starting to weigh up the costs of living in this foreign land, with a husband who has no idea how to prioritise my/our needs above anyone else's.

To give a bit of background, he is French and I'm a Kiwi (from NZ).  We met while he was studying in NZ. He obviously stayed and we created a life together, which for the most part was fine. However, a massive, ongoing problem has been his mother.  After all the reading I've done on ADD, I can appreciate (in hindsight... which is always much easier), that a family dynamic must've grown in response to my husbands add symptoms. That aside, my mother in-law made my husband feel responsible for her happiness, explicitly telling him that his decision to live in NZ made her feel depressed (this, amongst many other things leads me to believe they had a very unhealthy relationship). She made her feelings very clear to me and we never got along. When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I assumed he'd return to France. So I can't express how humbled I felt when he stayed.  We have our reasons for not moving right away but it was always our intention to move to when it was right for us. We decided this would either be when I finished university or if/when she physically needed us to be there.

But add was affecting us prior to all of this. He was unreliable, late, forgetful, always letting me down, made me take the lions share of our responsibilities and I basically felt like his mum. But to be honest, I didn't mind most of the time. We were otherwise happy, and I could do all of those things.  But there are other areas, like interpersonal communication and intimacy. I sometimes felt alone in the actual 'relationship' side of things. But I've always thought we could be better.

On top of all this, was the issue of his mum. We just never talked about her.  When it came to his family, he would shut me out (still does).  They could call him from France and order him back, and he'd jump on a plan without any thoughts about me or our life.  He was working towards his phd for that first part of our relationship.  It was hard enough feeling second to his phd. But when his mum got sick, I came third.  His mum was first, his phd second and I came at the end of all that.  I dont wanna be all melodramatic, but that was the most depressing year of my life.  When he submitted his thesis, he didn't even allow a couple of days for me/us.  He got on a plane 2 days later, discussing his timeframe with his family - not me.  He came back 2 months later, and I was so incredibly happy that he came back for me. I couldn't believe he returned for me.  My light at the end of the tunnel was christmas and we were nearly there. That was what got me through that horrible year.  So I was shattered when he told me, and I quote "my dad and sister told me i have to go back for christmas. I have no choice".  This, at the grand old age of 30 years.  I felt worthless compared to his family (still do!). Please don't get me wrong here, I am not begrudging the fact he needed to spend time with his mother and family. I'm not heartless and know that this needed to happen (as it stands, i had a great christmas with my own family). But I was/am incredibly frustrated that he's always being told what to do, and instead of carefully considering how he could/can make things work according to 'our needs', he does things according to his family and their desires.  

I am pretty conscious of what I can and can't deal with in life, and I knew I wouldn't be able to deal with 'all this' on the other side of the world, where I don't speak the language, where I don't have a network of friends or family of my own.  So I made it a condition that he had to deal with whatever 'it' was before we could move to France.  We did try.  We even went to a couples therapist, who made me feel like I was just being a heartless cow.  Of course we stopped going.  But, in his defense, he has made and continues to make such a huge effort to take responsibility for things. I can't express how much it means to me that he did it. i was so scared that he would become a self fulfulling prophecy (he always thinks he's useless), but he really stood up and took responsibility for us.  This is kind of where the problem lies though.  Since he's begun to take on more responisiblities, I know his ADD is becoming more problematic for him to deal with.  And I'm the one who has to live with the fall out - coz as far as he can see, he's dealing with everything as best as he can and if I would just shut my mouth, life would be perfect (according to him).

Anyhow, while ADD in itself is an issue that we need to deal with, the crux of my particular anger and resentment is his mother which he uses against me all the time. I still feel like she controls him/us even though she's not here.

Three months before I was due to graduate and then move to France, my mother in-law died.  It was very unexpected. She didn't even call my husband to say anything.  In my opinion (this is the anger speaking here), their whole family were cowards in dealing with her death. They skirted around the issue as if it didn't exist. Right before she died, when they were organising my husband's trip, they even told my husband to lie to his mum about his reason for being in France! (so that she wouldn't realise she was about to die).  My husband arrived 24 hours before she passed away and she was barely conscious. I know he feels guilty for not being there for her.  I know it is his right to grieve, but he doesn't know how.  So, it should be no surprise that when we get into arguments, he'll often bring up the fact he stayed in NZ to be with me. Several times, he has implied that he left her to die alone (she actually wasn't alone and had a lot of support), and when he's really angry, he'll say that he left his mum for nothing - nothing meaning me and our relationship.  This is where I draw the line.  I love my husband.  I see who he is beyond the ADD and I just want to be with that person.  But I will not tolerate being blamed, over and over again, for something that I didn't do.

I feel particularly angry about it because I had suggested that we move to France months prior to my mother in-law passing away.  I had grown exponentially and realised that I could deal with the move, warts and all.  But when I suggested this to my husband, he was the one who said no, reasoning that I needed to finish my degree before we could move.  At the time, I bought it.  But as time wore on, I felt that he couldn't deal with seeing his mum get worse.  I get that.  I understand it.  It makes so much sense.  But he needs to own the fact that he made the decision to live his own life in New Zealand, and not blame it on me.  He needs to hear from a third party that his mother never should've made him responsible for her happiness.  He also needs to hear that it was not only ok for him to live his own life, wherever he chose to, but that is his right as a grown man. But I know I can't be the one to tell him those things. And until he hears these things, I'm scared he'll never forgive himself and/or the fact that we had a life in New Zealand.

So anyway..... I just want him to know that its not his fault and that he has a right to be happy.  I want him to share himself with me. I also want him to hear me when I talk to him. I want to feel like he actually cares for me, that he has compassion and empathy for me. I want to feel like we have a happy, healthy future together. I want him to stop buckling to his family's every need and I want him to prioritise us/our needs before the rest of the world. I believe that treating/managing ADD is the key to all of this.  But whenever I raise the issue of add, he proceeds to remind me that he supports me financially, that he stayed in NZ for me and that he does so much for me and we just go around in circles.

Seriously, I know he is still the wonderful person that I fell in love with, but ADD, mothers issues, grief and dealing with a cross cultural relationship are just making his head all fuzzy.  I know this, he knows this, but he refuses to deal with it, at a time when I think it would be most valuable. I know he's in there, but I also have myself to look after. I have a very healthy sense of self worth and believe that my full potential is not being realised while I am living in another country dealing (or not dealing) with a husband who has untreated ADD.  If he would just deal with it, I could suck it up and deal with everything else.  But if he continues to ignore it, then I feel like I'm just wasting my time being in a relationship with him. I don't want us to separate, but how the hell do I get what I need out of this?